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    Judge Sets March 31 Deadline for New Short-Term Rental Law in New Orleans

    U.S. District Court Judge Ivan Lemelle said he would impose a hard March 31 deadline for the New Orleans, Louisiana, City Council to pass a new short-term rental ordinance for residential districts. The council had to amend its 2019 law after the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in August ruled that a homestead exemption mandate for residential short-term rental owners breached the constitutional rights of out-of-state operators. The decision nevertheless acknowledged the city's legitimate purpose in regulating short-term rentals and outlined policy options that would be legally acceptable. City attorney Daniel Smith said policymakers are weighing the circuit court's suggestions, including a limit on the number of permits per block and requiring managers to live on site, whether or not they are the property owners; New Orleans might also restrict residential permits to "natural persons" and bar limited liability companies and other corporate entities. The plaintiff's legal counsel Dawn Wheelahan argued that the temporary proscription perpetuates unconstitutional regulations by grandfathering existing permit holders, even though they do not qualify for renewal until a new law is in place. Lemelle countered that rescinding all residential short-term rental permits, although a legitimate redress of discrimination against out-of-state owners, was "drastic." He urged New Orleans to consider temporary permits for residential owners who applied before the 5th Circuit ruling but were excluded by the ban, suggesting that anyone whose constitutional rights have been impaired by the ongoing ban could seek monetary reparation.

    NOLA.com (12/05/22) Ben Myers

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